The story is quite simple. The story is based on James a 23 year old alcoholic and substance abuser and his experience with rehab. Most know rehab is not easy. While curiosity killed the cat I found this book intriguing to learn about the whole process. James had the same rules as everybody else; he could leave at any time and he did leave once, but immediately came back. James had his own roller coaster of a ride through rehab. A few weeks into rehab he is told if he drinks or smokes, snorts anything one more time he will die. There was a lot of vomiting, and cursing in the book. The most annoying habit was his repetition. I find it difficult to highlight key events throughout the book because it was seriously his day to day life through rehab.
As an good sob story goes James had a tragic childhood. He was frequently bullied as a child but always managed to throw the last punch. A favorite quote of mine was "Kids talked about me. Parents talked about me. Cops talked about me." He had one friend. Her name was Michelle. But as the sob story drags on Michelle got asked out by a senior boy. Michelle knew her parents would never allow her to go with this boy. She talked with James about lying to her parents saying she was going to the movies with James instead of the senior boy. James loved Michelle so he lied for her. On the night of the date her parents drove them to the movie theater. Jame went in and watched a movie by himself, and walked home while Michelle went on her date. On the way home the senior boy decided to try and beat a train across the tracks. "She was hit by the train and killed." Everyone at school blamed James because he lied for her. Every punch he threw after that was for her.
Random fact but I gained respect for James in the beginning of the story when he experienced in a double root canal without any drugs.
Spoiler Alert!!! The story ends on a high note. James graduates from rehab. His brother picks him up. As soon as the hugs were exchanged James says "I want to go to a bar." His brother catches his breathe in disbelief. His brother knows by now if James wants a drink he will get one so he takes him to a bar. James orders his drink, and slowly grasps the glass. He puts his nose to the end of the glass and just holds it there. And holds it there. Eventually he puts the glass down on the bar and tells the barkeeper to throw it away!